Recent Trips- Some Observations

After many years, I took a flight this time for Kolkata with Anand, Shanon and Emma. With Emma who is just going to be of 7 months on January 9, I felt the air travel is not suited for the children. From New Delhi to Kolkata, it was only a two hours flight. What would have happened in the flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco that took more than 10 hours or so? Why can’t the designers of these aircrafts come out some innovations that can make the long flights comfortable for the kids at least? Can a separate area specially designed for the kids with safe facilities be created where some airhostesses can take care of the kids? We mayn’t have a solution today, but I am sure one day some one will produce some wonderful idea to the problem. I have another question too. Can’t the airlines keep the passengers informed about the status of the flight through SMSs?

While moving around the country, one gets an impression that the whole country is undergoing a reconstruction. From Kolkata to Agra or Panipat to Jaipur, one can see malls, multiplexes, shopping centers, and naturally the expressways that are already in place or are coming up. Even the link roads for instance Jaipur-Agra road, is getting widened. Surprisingly, before the work on a project ends, we discover it is under-capacity and expansion is necessary. NHAI has decided to convert all the GQ from 4-lane to 6-lane. Why couldn’t it happen in the first go? But more than that I feel the country must simultaneously also take up the task of some training with subjects such as 5Ss, the road etiquettes and rules at all levels of formal and informal education. While driving on these Expressways, one sees all sorts of odd and shabby structures, habitations, shanties, and constructions right up to the edge of the road. Can’t the local communities and administrations be made to follow some rules? Can’t some width of area adjoining the road be allocated for planned greenery or forestry? Can’t NHAI create a place at regular distance for the parking of trucks? Can’t the slow vehicles-tractors, camel carts, autorikshas, be made to ply on the adjoining service roads? Can anything but a legal ban duly executed by the administration stop the mushrooming of illegal and filthy eyesores growing along the Expressways? Will anyone love to see what is shown in some photographs?

During my road trips from Noida to Jaipur and then Agra to Noida through GQ, I expected some rural malls on the model of ITC Choupal Sagar. I couldn’t see any. Its presence would have certain meant the success of the model. However, I expect that NHAI will induce all the petrol pumps to have and maintain compulsorily a good clean toilet and if possible a snack bar.

However, I could see how fast has been the growth of consumerism. Stocks of the quality handicrafts in different cottage industry malls, super markets, and one roadside restaurant that we happened to go in, are mind-boggling. I only wonder why still our craftsmen remain poor. Perhaps, it is only because the traders and middlemen are taking away the profit without paying the craftsmen their due. I wish it could have been improved through skill training and high-tech route or organized retailers outlet incorporating a section of handicrafts directly procured from the craftsmen.

And final shock came from the car (Innova) driver, when he presented a bill for 1315 kms at the rate of Rs 8.50 per km. As we calculated, the total distance traveled wouldn’t have been anything more than 850 or 900 kms. The distances by road for all the destinations were known. We didn’t use the vehicle once we reached the hotels in the evenings. But the driver used it. We were not smart enough to check the readings on every day before the start and the end of driving. I hope others will learn from our mistakes. One another lesson. Don’t go to any shop the driver or any guide recommends.

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